The Right Response

John 10:1-10

“​1 “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  NRSV

This passage raises a critical question. What is it about Jesus’ voice that makes it uniquely identifiable to the sheep in his sheepfold? Clearly, the sheepfold of Jesus is made up of many different sheep who respond to Jesus’ voice in ways that are sometimes alike and sometimes contradictory.

Jesus tells us in verse 10 what makes anyone’s response to his voice an authentic response – it must be life giving and given abundantly.  If these two elements are missing, the authenticity of the sheep’s response to Jesus’ voice must be called into question. That is why are love for our neighbor must be unconditionally given. Conditional love is restrictive, controlling, and manipulative. It is parceled out stingily. It does not meet either of the two criteria Jesus established.

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly,” Jesus declared. That’s always the voice I want to follow. I know you do, too!

Be a blessing to someone today!

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